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French Roulette

French Roulette was the original version of the game of roulette and indeed it was also the version of roulette that had the smallest house edge. All of the changes to the game that have been made (first the creation of European Roulette based on the rules of French Roulette and then the creation of American Roulette based on the rules of European Roulette) have been made for the express purpose of increasing the house edge. In order to understand how this is possible, it is important to understand exactly how the rules of French Roulette work.

French Roulette has a table that is identical to European Roulette in the sense that there is the grid of numbers on the inside as well as the outside betting of columns, dozens, high and low numbers and red and black numbers. There is also the zero, which serves to give the house its edge in the game. The overall statistical edge therefore would be 37 to 36 in favor of the house because of the fact that all of the house payouts are based on the table of thirty-six numbers and conveniently leave the zero out of the calculations.

However, with French Roulette, there is a rule known as la partage. Under this rule, if you happen to be making a bet on one half of the numbers (so either a high/low bet or a red/black bet) and the zero comes up, you actually end up getting half of your money back. In essence, la partage is the French Roulette version of surrendering in blackjack, where you can make the most of a bad situation and least keep half of the money that you initially wagered. Needless to say, this rule does not exist in either American or European Roulette as it would be the first rule to be removed if the house wanted to increase their edge over the player.